Southern states have had the highest fire death rates for the last three decades, according to a new report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The report looked at fire death rates between 1981-1985 and again during the period between 2010-2015, Eight of the states with the highest fire death rates were located in the South during both periods.
Researchers used a tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARSTM) to view fatal injury reports to analyze fire death rates over a 30-year period. Most states showed a decline in the number of fire fatalities, but the rate per million population remained higher in the Southern states.
The ten states with the highest fire death rate per million population between 2011-2015 were: Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota. The states with the lowest fire death rate during that period were: Idaho, Arizona, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, Florida, Colorado, Massachusetts, California, Hawaii and Utah.
Those ranks didn’t change much over a 30-year period. Comparative data from 1981-1985 show seven of the 10 states with the highest risk are the same- Mississippi, South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and West Virginia; and six of the states with the lowest risk are the same -Connecticut, California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Hawaii. Mississippi was the state with the highest fire death rate during both periods.
The ten states with the highest fire death rate per million population between 1981-1985 were: Mississippi, South Carolina, Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Vermont and North Carolina.he states with the lowest rate for that period were: Nebraska, Minnesota, Connecticut, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and Hawaii.
“Higher fire death rates are statistically correlated with several socioeconomic or behavioral characteristics of the states, ” the report states. These risk factors include the percentage of a state’s population that lives below the poverty line, the percentage of adults over the age of 25 who do not have a high school diploma, the percentage of adults who smoke and the percentage of the population living in rural communities. “Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Alabama are all among the highest ten states on at least three of the major risk factors and were in the top five highest average state fire death rates. Hawaii and Utah were in the lowest ten states on at least three of the major risk factors and had the lowest fire death rates. Information and comparisons of specific states,” according to the report.